McClaren is understood to by Newcastle's first choice to take over at the end of the season and Derby are reportedly starting to draw up contingency plans should he leave.
Although the Rams are desperate to keep their experienced boss, they realise that they have a fight on their hands and have a shortlist of targets they would like to replace him.
Rowett took Burton Albion to the top of League Two and he has done well at Birmingham so far, with Derby seeing a lot of talent in the 41-year-old.
Would Rowett be a good appointment for Derby?
Although it would be a risk to appoint Rowett, given his relative lack of experience, he could still be an excellent appointment.
He has made a successful job of every task he has had in management so far and everything suggests that he has the credentials to make the step up to controlling a team with aspirations to get promoted from the Championship.
Any manager who takes over from McClaren would find it tough, considering the job he has done, but Rowett could turn out to be an astute appointment for Derby.